We do live in an era of pressures of umpteen varieties in which peer-pressure is the first one to come and make a tie-up with us. As it affects the child hood and adolescence, the most sensitive stage of life, and as no child is immune to peer-pressure, it has significant role in molding and defining the cultural and behavioral standards of a person. VISHAL. L. talks about the negative as well as positive aspects of peer pressure that plays a sink-or-swim proportion in a kid’s life.
Peer pressure is what you experience when some one of your age is pushing you towards making a certain choice good or bad.
In other words peer pressure is experienced when friends persuade you to do something that you are not desirous to do. Peer pressure can be positive or negative. It comes into one’s life in various ways –- when friends forces us to take part in sports or some extra- curricular activities in school because they feel we have the ability for the same — when we get together for a community service or a religious gathering — when we help each other in studies and try some new hobbies because our friends insist us to do so.
However, negative peer pressure is more wide spread and forceful than positive peer pressure. Peer pressure often prompts good children to make unwanted or bad choices. Studies say that over 87% of children all over the world give in to peer pressure one time or another!!
Among smaller children the influences are based on peer identification. The things they carry to school, for instance, if almost having the particular ‘Scooby Day ‘ bag or ‘Popy’ umbrella, we want nothing else other than the mentioned brands. Advertisers and manufacturers seem to know and exploit this psychology too well and they cash in on the same. Peer pressure influences the food habits and even the ways of speech. At this juncture, the parents’ role is brawny. They should monitor their children’s habits and guide them properly at the right pitch and right time.
As children move into early adolescence, their peer relations expand and replace the family in occupying the pivotal role in their lives. The peer group often becomes the platform for experimentations and discussions regarding their new identity.
This is the time they kick start their awful activities and behaviors like less respect for elders, parents and teachers – cutting classes and engage in ragging or bullying – trying a puff of cigarette or/and a peg of liquor and like..
Unfortunately some of the above mentioned deviations become a hard-core habit which thence forth leads their life forward. Every child is susceptible to the phenomenon of peer pressure, but certain some are at higher risk for falling into it. They are the children with lack of self confidence and low self esteem. They won’t have a way or goal to strive for and this may lead them to a state of depression.
At this point, along with the parents, teachers also should play the role of a real guardian monitoring this ‘high-risk group’ and intervening into their goings at the right time.
Once the children give in to peer-pressure they experience a roller coaster ride of emotions ranging from guilt and anxiety to sadness. This may even lead to suicidal tendencies. So we should find a way to get out of this snare of negative peer pressure by making use of all possible means.
At first parents and teachers should try to create an environment that motivates a child to communicate openly without fear when faced with a problem. Once a child approaches an elderly person whom he trusts, he can help him see the reality and focus what is right. Children should be guided to make wise selection regarding their peer circle.
Parents can brief their children about the peer group with which they can be involved –
They can ask their children not to associate with the school-bullies under normal circumstances. They can make the kids realize the righteous and understanding ones as their best friends.
Choosing the right peer group is an important step in fighting the unwanted peer pressure.
So friends, we should realize that peer pressure works only if we allow it to get into us. When we refuse and assert ourselves it bosses power. You should remember that we have the innate power to keep the negative pressures away from us.
VISHAL.L., Class XI, Sri Satya Sai Higher Secondary School, Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur